We meet Elsa Huertas Barros, Lecturer in Translation Studies at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. Elsa joined the University of Westminster in 2009 and teaches translation-related modules across the undergraduate and postgraduate languages programmes. Elsa has combined freelancing work with teaching for several years, allowing her to stay up-to-date with translation practice and bring her expertise to the classroom.

What’s the best thing about being a team member in the Translation BA course?
I am extremely pleased to be a team member in the Translation BA course, particularly this year since I have had the opportunity to contribute to the development of our exciting new curriculum which will transform the learning and teaching experience for both our students and members of staff.

Having students from many different backgrounds and cultures and building a growing translation community together is very exciting. We also keep in touch with our past and current students via social media and have a dedicated translation community on LinkedIn in which students and staff within our department share news, posts, job offers, etc. on a regular basis. Many team members in the Translation BA carry out joint research projects together and regularly share best practice, which is very positive and helps build a strong translation community.

Why do you think the Translation BA has done so well in the 2016 National Student Survey?
The professionalism and dedication of our translation tutors and their approachable attitude towards our students are in my opinion key to our success in the 2016 National Student Survey. Students opinions and feedback are also a priority for us and we always take these into consideration for further improvements. I believe our determination to keep improving our past students’ experience has also shown in the 2016 results.

What made you want to get involved in teaching in higher education?
I got involved in teaching in higher education to be able to make an impact on our future generations – training them so that they can make a difference in the world. I am also very enthusiastic and passionate about Translation Studies and I have always wanted to inspire my students and share my knowledge and experience with them.

What are your biggest successes?
Contributing to students’ progress and learning, and being involved in their personal growth.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing how we can make our translation students develop a real passion and respect for this discipline, and see them become successful linguists and translators. Building a community in which students learn and construct knowledge together through interactions with their peers and their tutors is a very rewarding feeling. Seeing how students progress with our support throughout the academic year and gradually become more and more confident and autonomous is very fulfilling.

How does your research inform your teaching (and vice versa)?
My main area of research is translation pedagogy, which has a direct impact on our teaching. I regularly attend and present my work at international conferences, which provides me with first-hand exposure to the main research areas in Translation Studies. One of the primary purposes of our research is supporting our teaching, and many of the curriculum enhancements that we carry out come out of our current academic research in Translation Studies and translation pedagogy. Our research involves projects and case studies with both our lecturers and students, as well as close contact with the translation industry. This ensures consistency across all our modules and favours the progression of our students during the learning cycle. This research also ensures we can prepare graduates more adequately for the complex demands of the translation market.

What do you love about working at the University of Westminster?  
The University of Westminster, and particularly the department I am part of, is a very multicultural environment. We have students from different backgrounds and cultures which is extremely enriching. Our student exchange programme also represents a unique opportunity to study abroad or have contact with students from many different parts of the world.

The University of Westminster is a very supportive environment and I am proud to be part of it. The members of my department have built a strong community and maintain positive and friendly relationships.

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